Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I grew up in rural Maine, which really had its benefits. Owning horses was one of them. I miss it more than anything.

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Mind you, I wasn't out riding terribly fancy horses. Very few requirements had to be met upon acquisition: some basic sanity, sound enough to be ridden, and they had to be cheap or free. Some had been abused, others were ex-racehorses, and they were all just a bit flawed. Nothing too delicate. Nothing too pretty. Waking up at 5am to feed and make sure the water buckets weren't frozen solid was an absolute joy in January, but summer and fall were just lovely times- the beach was nearby and there were miles of wooded trails to explore. It was idyllic and I really miss those days.

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I went off to college with my saddle in tow, rode for hours every day and rode competitively on the weekends. I don't really miss that aspect of it, but it was good experience. It's a lot of hard work and stress for both the horse and rider.

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After college, I got a job teaching riding lessons in Central Park when I moved to the city. It was fun coming home on the subway after work during rush hour and getting most of a train car to myself because I smelled so terribly. Eventually, I had to pay the bills a bit better than what I was doing so I moved on to panty-hose jobs. So ends my urban equestrian adventure.

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The urge to be around horses is still with me. I'm being patient and waiting for the day where it's not a complete hassle to be involved in the horse world. For now, I'm just going to have to wait and watch.

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We stumbled upon a horse show when we were exploring upstate. We stopped in to observe.

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These were fancy horses.

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I was thrilled to be there, but it reminded me of all the things I didn't like about the horse world. The elitist snobbery being the most irksome. You'll find plenty of nice people, but it seems ingrained into the sport to be up on their high horses. Literally.

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It was almost magical to see though. Steering around 1400 pounds of blood, bone and muscle at high speeds over 5 foot jumps is not without its charms. It's quite the adrenaline rush.

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I was explaining to Bry why the parking lot was so empty for such a big event and why there were no spectators other than a handful of other riders and a few parents. It really seemed that we were the only people there who didn't "belong". It's a very self-congratulatory sport, with no teams and no cheering squads. Not a lot of people who aren't involved with either training or riding show up.

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It goes without saying that this is a very moneyed sport. You're not making money doing this- occasionally there will be a small prize for winning a class, but people aren't doing this to make money. They already have loads of it. It's an outlet for them to get rid of huge sums of cash. Trainers, trailers, boarding and feed, vet and farrier bills, saddles and bits.

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Some of the horses there cost more than most people's homes. It's not a cheap sport to be involved with on the upper levels.

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It was thrilling to see regardless. The horses are truly top athletes. The time spent on developing both horse and rider is enormous.

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There's no mistaking the bond that takes place between the horse and rider. There's a certain calmness that is conveyed.

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I still have my saddle and my boots. The chaps and gloves got converted into motorcycle gear. Everything else is languishing in storage with the hopes that they will get some use in the future.

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